Section 3.2. Treatment

Learning Objectives

After completing this section, you will be able to describe treatment strategies for patients with tetrachloroethylene poisoning.


Tetrachloroethylene poisoning has no antidote. Treatment consists of removing the patient from the exposure and supporting respiratory and cardiovascular functions.

Acute Exposure

Tetrachloroethylene poisoning has no antidote. Treatment is supportive. In all suspected cases, remove the patient from the source of exposure. Provide standard support for respiratory and cardiovascular functions when needed. Additional recommendations include

  • restricting use of alcohol or other CNS depressant medication,
  • removing contaminated clothing,
  • washing affected areas with mild soap and copious amounts of water,
  • moving from the contaminated area and/or
  • maintaining good ventilation.
Chronic Exposure

Symptoms related to chronic exposure tend to worsen during exposure and improve when exposure stops, such as during vacation or after a job transfer. Consider other causes for symptoms if no clear association between symptoms and exposure exists.

The level of exposure either must be reduced or the source eliminated for persons with tetrachloroethylene toxicity. Depending on the setting, this might be accomplished by

  • using an agent less hazardous than tetrachloroethylene or
  • increasing air ventilation.
Key Point
  • Tetrachloroethylene toxicity has no antidote; supportive measures should be administered.
  • In all suspected cases, removal from exposure should reduce or eliminate symptoms.